2018. What a year. On a personal note, it’s been the best of times. It’s been the worst of times. It’s been all the times in between. But at vivandlarry.com it’s been great, so here’s a run-down of some of the exciting things that happened in this little corner of the Internet, and in my Viv and Larry life.
Natalie Dormer is adapting my Vivien Leigh book for TV
In case you missed it, The Internet announced that actress Natalie Dormer will play Vivien Leigh in an upcoming TV mini-series. The programme, currently titled “Vivling”, will be produced by Mainstreet Pictures and distributed by Fremantle. The exciting thing is that my book, Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait, was optioned as source material for the show! I’ve got faith in Natalie’s ability to pull this off. She’s so lovely in person and is very keen to do things right.
At this stage they’re working on the script and I’ll let you know of any new developments. I know these things can take ages to get off the ground — if they do at all. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed for success!
VivandLarry.com turned 11
It’s hard to believe that this website launched all the way back in 2007. Over the years the frequency at which I posted ebbed and flowed. It’s difficult to when the focus is quite niche to think of new content all the time. There have been periods when I’ve felt disheartened or frustrated or just plain tired of trying to stay “on it” all the time. There have been times where I’ve forgotten why I started this website in the first place, and that it’s supposed to be fun.
My interest in the Oliviers and studying their lives and careers is still going strong. But it wasn’t until a few months ago that I felt like I found a renewed purpose in posting here. Where I was once manically posting anything and everything I could find, typing up articles, scanning every photo I came across, I’ve now decided to focus on my personal collection and things that are more meaningful to me. I’ve realized that there’s no point to pouring energy into something if I’m not enjoying it. So in 2019 I’m reclaiming my time, reclaiming this site, and hoping you’ll stick around for what’s to come.
Saved the Vivien Leigh Albums
Earlier this year I did a GoFundMe campaign to preserve and digitise the four photograph albums I managed to win at the Vivien Leigh estate auction at Sotheby’s in September 2017. Thanks to your generosity, we successfully raised over $6,000 which helped to pay off the bill and to purchase archival supplies! It was a community effort and I’m happy to say that the albums have now been fully digitised and are packaged in nice archival boxes. Those that donated $25 or more received a special e-book featuring an essay by me and about 17 photos from the albums.
In between other things I’ve been trying to date and identify people in the snapshots. The Notley Abbey guestbook from the V&A has been instrumental but there are some dates and faces that remain elusive. Work continues.
Acquired the Richard Mangan Laurence Olivier Collection
In September I levelled up my collecting game by purchasing the Richard Mangan Laurence Olivier Collection. I’ve known Richard for about 10 years and have admired his dedication, knowledge, and kindness for just as long. The collection spans Laurence Olivier’s entire career on stage and screen and contains some truly unique items. I feel so honored that Richard trusted me to care for this material. The goal is to repackage the old three-ring binders and transfer the material to archival quality boxes. Each item is catalogued in a spreadsheet and all the playbills and photos are being scanned.
Thus far I’ve catalogued 335 items and have made it to 1937 in Olivier’s stage career. There’s plenty to keep me busy in 2019!
Launched the Viv and Larry Patreon
Several years ago I had a donation button on the home page of this website. It was there for visitors who appreciated the work I was doing on this site and who wanted to help with things like web hosting and finding new material to scan. I recently decided to start this up again in the form of Patreon. It’s a site used by creatives – podcasters, writers, musicians, gamers, etc. – to get paid for the work they produce. Viv and Larry Patrons can choose from three donation tiers. Each tier includes certain perks.
The money raised via Patreon goes toward archival supplies for the Richard Mangan Collection, web hosting fees, and other essentials. It always feels a bit weird asking for money, but the way I figure it is if people want to contribute they will, and if they don’t they won’t. Please do check it out if you’re interested in supporting my work on Larry and Vivien.
10K fans on Instagram
Facebook has been weirding me out for a long time so late last year I decided to shift my social media attention to Instagram (also owned by Facebook — damn you, Mark Zuckerberg! *shakes fist at cloud*). A few months ago the @vivandlarrygram Instagram page reached 10K followers — so exciting! I miss the discussion aspect of Facebook but am enjoying the more visual aspect of Instagram. Yesterday I went through and archived most of the old posts with the goal of putting more thought into the content in the year ahead.
I hope you’ve all had a wonderful 2018. Here’s to a happy and successful New Year!